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The Argentine Navy’s Sea King helicopters return from the Antarctic campaign

The units of the Second Air Naval Helicopter Squadron have returned to their usual headquarters at Comandante Espora Air Naval Base. The Embarked Air Naval Group consisted of 25 people and was deployed for more than four months to fulfill its mission on board the icebreaker ARA Almirante Irzar in the Antarctic Summer Campaign (CAV) 2020/21.

The main tasks of the naval air units were to remove Antarctic debris from the various bases in the direction of Irzar. 439,270 kg of waste has been recovered, which is now being dumped on the continent for subsequent treatment and final disposal, as established by international conventions.

In addition, they fulfilled the supply of permanent common Antarctic bases (since the temporary ones did not open that year). In this task, the naval helicopters mobilized 1,721,115 kg loads, including food, scientific materials, building materials and fuel. They also carried 948 passengers destined there.

The commander of the Second Naval Aircraft Helicopter Squadron, EAH2, Lieutenant Commander Miguel Augusto Martnez Widmer, stressed that the squadron has many missions and capabilities. One of them is the support of logistics in the Antarctic. We had very large and varied challenges this year, taking into account the limitations of the COVID-19 pandemic. We walked because there were a lot of things we didn’t know. We had to use creativity at the highest level and adapt to what anyone could do under the circumstances.

The Embarked Naval Air Group consisted of 25 people, including pilots, flight crews and mechanics, who completed 350 hours of flight. Interaction with the icebreaker crew was excellent. We all come from the same school, so the dictionary and customs are the same. After so many years of performing these joint tasks, the same ship has accepted us as part of the unit. The binomial created between the ship and the helicopter is a constitutive part of the ship and people integrate very well. There are even activities aboard the icebreaker that our staff volunteer to take part in. The only thing that sets us apart is the type of uniform, said the commander of EAH2.

Before participating in CAV 2020/21, the squadron carried out a series of exercises in order to achieve optimal training. The last exercise was called Nevada and was carried out in a snowy area near the city of San Carlos de Bariloche. A flight operation was carried out there in mountains and wetlands, which mimicked the climatic conditions and basic requirements in order to meet the challenges of operation in the Antarctic.

In addition, twelve EAH2 pilots carried out flight simulator training for Sea King helicopters in the facilities of the Nordhlz naval air base of the German Navy. Another of the previous tasks was developed with two helicopters in the middle of the sea on the ocean patrol boat ARA Bouchard, which was assigned to the maritime control and surveillance operation in the Exclusive Economic Zone of Argentina, in order to protect the resources of the sea against possible illegal fishing. strange.

Throughout the year, said Captain Martínez Widmer, we trained as part of the annual training plan, which not only affects the CAV, but also the squadron’s mission, which also includes submarine and surface warfare skills. In addition, we have also assisted units of the Navy and Navy, where we have carried out various activities limited by the pandemic situation, but which allowed us to maintain the required level of training. (Luis Pieiro)

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